THE COLLOQUIUM FOR UNPOPULAR CULTURE and THE ORGANISM FOR POETIC RESEARCH present: AN EVENING WITH TOM PICKARD - RARE FILM SCREENINGS AND CONVERSATION
Co-sponsored by the Department of English, NYU
TOM PICKARD (b.1946) was described by Allen Ginsberg as "one of the most live and true poetic voices in Great Britain". Writer and critic Alex Niven says, "In his life and work, he has embodied a strain of militant liberation not often encountered on the British Isles".
Having left high school (reputedly the worst in the UK) at the age of 14, in 1964 he organised - along with his first wife Connie Pickard - the very first reading at Morden Tower, a turret on Newcastle's walls dating back to 1280. Over the following fifty years it has been a hybrid of medievalism and Modernism, a hub of experimental poetry and music, the place where Basil Bunting gave his first public reading of Briggflatts and Ginsberg his first European reading of Kaddish, an attack platform for Burning Star Core, Viv Albertine and Keith Fullerton Whitman.
In addition to his published poetry, Pickard wrote for Anarchy, edited a magazine with pop artist Richard Hamilton, and was a member of the band King Ida's Watch Chain whose show at Middle Earth, Covent Garden provoked what is said to be the biggest raid in Metropolitan police history. He has worked as a librettist, playwright, oral historian, bookseller and radio documentarian.
Less well known are his films - among them Word of Mouth, a 10 x 30-minute series that won a gold medal for best performing arts series at the 1990 New York International Film and TV Festival, and also a runner-up for a Royal Television Society award.
This evening represents an uncommon opportunity to see two of his films that showcase equally his immersion in transatlantic modernism and in the poetics and politics of class. UNFINISHED BASIL BUNTING FILM (c.60 min), notionally about Bunting, features vivid interviews with Roy Fisher, Ed Dorn and Allen Ginsberg discussing fascism and the cultivated ignorance of English academia regarding modernism. THE SHADOW AND THE SUBSTANCE (1994) is a dismayingly prescient investigation, starring philosopher Andre Gorz and Bishop David Jenkins, of the meanings of work after industrialization.
SPECIAL THANKS: Devin Johnston, Maureen McLane
ORGANISM FOR POETIC RESEARCH
THE COLLOQUIUM FOR UNPOPULAR CULTURE (est.2007): falling and laughing...